Family Property Disagreement? Try a free 2 hour Mediation from Family Matters.

Family Matters Saskatchewan offers a free 2 hour mediation, which is a good option for family property issues.   It may take a month or two to get in.   So if there is disagreement about parenting, the wait is too long, but for issues of family property, it is a good idea to try.    Any formal family property agreement will have to be written and signed by your lawyer afterwards.

Family Matters phone number is (844) 863-3408.   Their e-mail is familymatters@gov.sk.ca.   Their website is: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/births-deaths-marriages-and-divorces/separation-or-divorce/family-matters-program

Free Child Support and Spousal Support Calculator

Every couple of years or so things slow down for a week or two and I have time to update this blog.

I offer a free 20 minute initial consultation but lots of people like to research what they can before calling.

WARNING: before reading the below and agreeing to ANYTHING give me or another family law lawyer a call.   Any agreement in writing and signed by you can be enforced by Saskatchewan Maintenance Enforcement Office.

If you are recently separated and wondering how much child support or spousal support you might have to pay there is a free website that can provide a rough guideline.   It is:

https://www.mysupportcalculator.ca/

or you can go directly to the child support guidelines at:

Click to access ska.pdf

But you should call a lawyer before agreeing or signing anything.   The issue of Custody, Child Residence, and Access is also important and the old days where the Mother usually got the kids are over.   Where the kids stay and for how long affects how much child support is paid, and to who.

Separation Agreements

When separating from your spouse fighting in Court is an expensive proposition for both parties, it is much faster and easier to agree than to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers and court costs.

Separation Agreements also have the advantage of certainty. You know the end result, right now.   After months or years of fighting, at Trial a Judge imposes a decision on both parties, and often neither party is happy with it.

Separation Agreements can specify Child Custody, Access, Child Support, Children’s expenses, Spousal Support (or lack thereof), and division of Family Property.   It should be road map of where things are going in the future.

I always tell clients to make sure their spouse will sign before preparing a Separation Agreement.   There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours preparing an agreement that the other spouse won’t sign.

Once the agreement is prepared and both spouses agree to sign it, the other spouse will have to get independant legal advice from a different law firm before they sign.   That’s why separation agreements are so hard to overturn.   Both parties had a lawyer tell you what you were signing before you signed it.

When applying for a Final Divorce, the Judge will want to read the Separation Agreement to make sure everything has been settled.

If you have any questions about Separation Agreements, give me a call.

David R. Barth

Asset and Income Protection

Life Insurance provides your dependents with a replacement for your income when you die.

Disability Insurance provides replacement income if you can’t work.

Marriage and Divorce are also major life events that can have a big impact on your life. Below is a checklist of what you can do legally before you marry or after you separate to protect your income and assets.

Legal Checklist for Divorcing Clients

-spouse not only means married couples, but couples that have lived together for more than 24 months.

__ Separation Agreement (for Family Property)(required for refinancing in one spouses name)

__ Separation Agreement (for Child Custody, Access, and Support)

__ Separation Agreement (for Spousal Support, or lack thereof)

__ New Will (Divorce cancels current Will) (can be done in contemplation of future Divorce)

Legal Checklist for Marrying Clients

__ Inter-spousal Agreement (for division of Family Property and debt on future Separation)

__ Title in Joint or Sole Names (presumption of equal sharing at Separation if in Joint names)

__ Inter-spousal Agreement (Assets owned by one spouse jointly with 3rd party (ex. your business partner))

__ Inter-spousal Agreement (Spousal Support)

__ New Will (Marriage, or living together for two years, cancels your current Will)

David R. Barth

Risks of Giving Money to Your Child

Parents often want to help their children buy their first house.  Often they give their child a large amount of money towards the purchase.   The child then makes the regular monthly mortgage payments.

The problem is that if the child divorces, half the money you gave your child then goes to their ex-spouse.  This is not the parent’s usual intention.

The only way to avoid this problem is to transfer money to your child as a loan instead of a gift.  The terms and conditions of the loan will have to be in writing and signed by your child and their spouse.   The document should include the amount of the loan, the purpose of the loan, the interest rate if any, and the fact that the loan is due on demand, or on the event of your child’s separation from their spouse.

Separating spouses often claim that the money given to them by their parents was a loan, but without any supporting documents, it is almost impossible to prove.  Taking a few minutes to document the loan will save a lot of future grief.

You can forgive the loan to your child in your will, or at any other time you wish.

Keep in mind that some banks will require you to sign a document called a gift letter saying that the money your gave your child was a gift.  Experienced counsel will know to look for that gift letter.  A judge will then have to decide on the conflicting evidence whether or not the money was a loan or a gift.

David R. Barth

Spousal Support and Revenue Canada

There is a difference between the way Revenue Canada treats child support and spousal support.  When you pay spousal support it is deducted from your income and added to the income of your ex-spouse.  Child support is not deducted from the payor’s income, nor added to the payee’s income.

Canada Revenue Agency does require that the payment be pursuant to an agreement or Court Order.   It is possible to have past spousal support included in this agreement.   So if you have been voluntarily paying spousal support, make sure you have the past support included in your agreement or Court Order.

An interesting twist is how Revenue Canada treats legal fees for spousal support.   If you are applying to get spousal support, a source of income, Revenue Canada allows you to deduct the legal fees as an expense on your taxes.   If you are fighting against paying spousal support, you cannot deduct the legal fees. Revenue Canada says it is not an expense incurred to gain income.

David R. Barth

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

I was signing a separation agreement with a client.   The client has to pay a fair amount of cash to the ex-spouse to keep the family home.   The client was not happy.

I advised that in the future a Pre-Nuptial Agreement should be signed before marriage and even before a boyfriend/girlfriend moves in.   The world may have changed, but the law has not.   When living together, you get a two year grace period but then you are treated the same as a married couple.  And two years can go by very quickly.

The client is still young and will have other relationships in the future, but will get a Pre-Nup before letting anyone else move in.  I said I should write something about that in my blog, and the client agreed.

David R. Barth